It’s a Facade! Social media & the white picket fence.

Let’s get real!

Let’s try an experiment. If you can relate to what I’m about to describe, comment below.  You’ve had a long day at work filled with meetings, projects, and co-workers. Then, this transitioned into picking the kids up from swim practice, cooking, cleaning up dinner and now… you have 15 minutes of “me” time. You get into your comfys (which for me, consists of my hair up in a knot, no bra, tank top, and sweats – rarely matching and definitely NOT sexy). I have 15 minutes to do something mindless. Maybe I’ll watch a re-run of The Office on Netflix, maybe I’ll browse my favorite retailer’s website or, more often than not, I hit the Instagram icon on my iPhone. Then it begins… I start looking at my friends and family’s pictures. I like. I comment. I “stalk". However, if you’re like me, most of the people you follow, you haven’t even met. Whether it’s mommy bloggers, beauty influencers, or fashion enthusiasts, your feed is full of them and all their perfectly placed photos. Obviously, I follow them for a reason, but following them can be draining.  As I continue to look at stories and feeds, I begin to feel a bit anxious. “Look at her,” I say. “There’s no way in hell she’s had a baby.” I yell as I show my husband an aesthetically-pleasing photo of a woman attempting the “no makeup, but tons of makeup look.” The photo’s captioned, “Go away morning! I’m not ready to begin my day….where’s Mr. Coffee when you need him?” It’s so clearly staged. It’s so clearly a façade, and 15 minutes later, my self-image is a bit shaken. So, why do we all buy into it? Why does the Instagram façade have such an enormous impact on us even when we know it’s fake?

Masking mask identity

 

Now, don't get me wrong, I do my fair share of editing, filtering, and posting just the good stuff. I've posted the best family selfie (the only "acceptable" one out of a dozen taken), the cutest collection of dog photos, and our beautiful Utah Mountains using the "vivid" filter because those trees just aren't green enough. We all do it in some form or fashion. Whether intentional or unintentional, we're part of the façade. But whatever happened to being real? Being authentic, honest, and portraying our incredibly busy, fulfilling, challenging, and sometimes-chaotic lives as they are? And that leads to the big question for all of us, what impact is the white picket fence of social media having on us and what can we do about it? And even more importantly, how can we as working women, professionals, and entrepreneurs use social media to build our brands, without getting sucked into the façade? Let's explore this topic a bit more and see if we can solve this together!

The Emotional Toll of Social Media

Are the facades preventing you from pursuing your dreams and realizing your true potential?

There have been numerous articles, studies, and papers published on this very subject and the verdict is that, emotionally, it’s taking its toll. Below are a few examples of how the social media can affect you emotionally.

  • Self-Esteem:

Dr. Tim Bono, When Likes Are Not Enough author, explains, “When we derive a sense of worth based on how we are doing relative to others, we place our happiness in a variable that is completely beyond our control.” Becoming more aware of the time we spend on social media and more self-aware of how it influences our lives can help us focus more on ourselves, our relationships, our work, and boost our self-confidence in the process.

Moscow mule and hammock selfie

  • Human Connections:

Humans are social creatures. We thrive on interactions and work to build long-lasting personal relationships. Social media can dramatically impact our ability as humans to engage and forge relationships. In fact, a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, conducted with 5,208 subjects solidifies this very point.

  • Lack of Progress:

Being consumed by what others are doing can easily prevent you from focusing on what you should be doing, thus limiting your forward progress. If you’re always consumed about others – what they are doing, where they are going, what they are saying, what they are wearing, etc., you can never truly focus on what’s actually important.

The Good Side of Social

Turning an Emotional Drain into a Positive Influence

Social media isn’t all bad. Actually, it’s far from it. Social has many upsides, including a way for you or your business to build a brand, reputation, and attract potential customers. Aside from business, social media can also be a way to connect with distant relatives, family, and friends. Again, social isn’t bad at its core, but we need to learn ways to of handling it better to prevent the negative side from creeping in. But how?

Building a Brand:

Utilizing social media platforms will help you, your company, and brand gain exposure, build credibility, cultivate a loyal following, and ultimately, position yourself as reliable “authority” in your respective space. Here are a few rules to the social kingdom we should all follow:

  • Get Real!

Sound simple? Well, it should be. Essentially, everyone just wants to connect. They want to feel that they know you and can trust you or your brand. Being real and authentic will help you gain that trust.

  • Start a Conversation

Don’t we all want to be involved and have our voice heard? What better way to do that than to start a conversation and actually solicit feedback? You can do this through comments, direct messaging, emails, and more. The key here is that you need to mean it. Which means, if someone DM’s you or posts a comment, then you need to respond.

  • Be Original

Easier said than done, I know. It seems like every topic or post has already been covered in one way or another, so being original, can be challenging. Start by sharing your own photos or videos, rather than repurposing others. By doing this, you’re being authentic, while providing commentary that is specific to you and your life. People relate to real! But, if you do decide to repurpose something from someone else, make sure you tag or mention them in the post to give them their due credit. This will also help build trust with your audience.

  • Let Your Freak Flag Fly

Ok, there are some limits, but it is important that you show your personality. Want to post a picture of you whisking your child out of a quiet wedding ceremony (with the look of embarrassment and terror on your face)? Do it! It’s real, it’s relatable, and it’s you. Whatever you do, simply make sure it has personality.

As mentioned before, the goal is to tear down this social media façade we’ve all been buying into for far too long. We’re all perfectly imperfect and that should be celebrated and shared. Together, a group of confident, self-sufficient working mothers can band together, love, support one another, and tear down social media’s white picketed fence. Let’s get real together!

Have any ideas, tips or tricks that have helped you move past the social media facade? We would love to hear from you, please share them in the comment section below.

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